Woman accused of killing 4-year-old in Arcadia day care crash transported back to DeSoto County

Reporter: Dannielle Garcia Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
Morant fingerprints

A young woman who deputies say killed a 4-year-old on a day care playground has a fresh jumpsuit and a new place to stay. Kiara Morant got her fingerprints taken at the DeSoto County Jail on Monday.

Morant is now locked up just down the street from the day care where the crash happened last week. On Tuesday, Morant will go before another judge this time in DeSoto County. There will be a hearing to see if she bond this time around.

The death of a precious 4-year-old little girl has rocked this small town. You can see the growing memorial they’ve created for her.

Father of 4-year-old girl killed in crash mourns her death, community gathers

18-year-old Morant was booked into the DeSoto County Jail. She’s the woman who drove without a license, and crash investigators say she plowed through a fence into a daycare playground. 4-year-old Maleena Valdez died, and a 5 -year-old girl was hurt.

Bonnie has a granddaughter at Imagination Station Learning Center, where the crash happened. “I had picked my granddaughter up 5-10 minutes before this happened. I’ve been sick because if I had left her there, I would’ve been right in the thick of it, or she would’ve been in and possibly injured as well,” Bonnie said.

Bonnie has a reason to worry. In the last 10 years, the Desoto County Sheriff’s Office documented 22 crashes in that specific area.

The Florida Department of Transportation told WINK News it has a plan in the works to make this road safer. Adam Rose is with FDOT. “This project is going to be redesigning and reconfiguring the way that the roadway is laid out,” said Rose.

In the meantime, Florida Highway Patrol will recreate the crash to definitively determine what caused it. Casey Breen is a traffic reconstruction expert with FHP. “How fast was the car going when it impacted? Why? Why did? Why to get there? Whether it be a mechanical issue or just a distracted driver?” Breen said.

“What kind of steps did the driver take to lead up to that? Were they on the gas pedal? Were they on the brakes, accelerating, were they coasting? Were they… was the cruise control set? All those things are kind of possibilities. Once you do inspections and downloads, you can start piecing it together,” said Breen.

So, it is possible that Morant will face additional charges. As for the second child hit in the crash, FHP says she’s now home from the hospital.

The owner of the daycare owner said while she’s not ready to reopen, she will have grief counselors on hand on Tuesday for parents and children. They will also answer questions to help parents feel safer about returning their kids to day care.

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